Totally tried to get this up yesterday but it just didn’t happen for me. Too much fun this weekend made for a SLEEPY Monday. Also, it’s raining and cold here which doesn’t facilitate getting pumped up for a Monday. This weekend Mike and I participated in the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. I jump at the chance to run races in Philly because that is where my best-friend and lady-life partner Sarah lives. Over the past three years of her living in Philly and me in DC, we’ve gotten really good at making the trip and I feel like her friends in Philly are my friends now too! Friday night, we made the trip up I-95N. Saturday included breakfast at Schlesinger’s, a good stretch out at Philly Power Yoga (post coming later this week), a trip down to Lincoln Financial Field to get our race packets, watching the Derby on South Street, and dinner on Rittenhouse Square. Also, Juno was on TV. Whoot whoot! Sunday was, of course, RACE DAY. Here’s how it went.
The race didn’t start until 8:30 pm but you had to take the Broad Street Line subway to get to the start. Races that involve taking public transportation make me nervous (I had an almost calamity at the Baltimore Half Marathon) so we were up and on a train at 6:15 am. We arrived at about 6:40 and then just waited around for almost two hours, which was not my favorite part. Add to that… it was FREEZING and WINDY. Also, they claimed that bag check closed at 8:00 am so I had to part with my warm layers (I should have just done throwaway clothes) for a whole 30 minutes before race start.
The starting area was CROWDED. Huge lines everywhere, massive crowds trying to move around, and people were getting restless / feisty. It wasn’t my most pleasant pre-race experience. At one point, I was trying to get to my corral and I just stood, stuck in a massive, unmoving crowd for legitimately 15 minutes. I never actually made it to my corral. I saw a break in the fence and just hopped in. The corrals were not being strictly enforced at all anyways, and I was getting cranky so I needed to RUN.
Mercifully, I finally crossed the starting line and got going. However, at that exact moment the clouds broke and the sun starting beating down hard. By mile one, I was baking in my long sleeved jacket. I knew I was going to be miserable if I kept it on so I pulled over for a quick minute to remove my layer (I was wearing a tank top underneath), quickly re situate, and get back on the road. I ended up losing about a minute and a half of time, which is fine but kind of annoying. The race course and the crowd support was EXCELLENT. You start all the way up Broad street in North Philly and run a straight shot down Broad, around City Hall, through Center City, and down to the Navy Yard in South Philly.
You know how some days are just great running days? This was not one of those days. My legs just felt tired pretty much the whole race. I was holding a great pace but it felt tough. By mile 5, I was getting tired and I thought to myself “Uh oh, I still have 5 miles to go and I’m already tired.” When I start getting tired during a race, I try and use my ego to my own advantage. I stuck to the outside of the course, so I wouldn’t be tempted to walk in front of all the spectators. Hey, whatever you gotta do right? Coming around City Hall was awesome and I knew that my friends would be on Broad between City Hall and South Street. I saw Sarah (and gave her a high five) but missed Kristy (womp womp). Then it was another ~ 4 miles to go. I was on pace to meet my 10 mile PR from December and, even though I was tired and my knee was starting to hurt a little, I was not going to let up. I kicked it into high gear for the last half a mile and flew to the finish line.
Unfortunately, there was a HUGE backup of people at the finish line, so I was forced to stop completely 1 step across the finish line. Not ideal. I clicked off my watch and didn’t even look at it while I tried to navigate this massive clog of people. When I finally got funneled into the finish area and looked at my watch, I realized that I set a new PR by 4 seconds! 1:31:47 by my clock. However, this is an unofficial PR since my chip time was a 90 seconds longer thanks to my stop to change my shirt. Irritating, but that’s ok. I’ll keep my PR from December for now but I am gunning for a sub 1:30 10 miler this Fall.
I picked up my medal and my finisher food (which was BALLER by the way. Major points for this Broad Street Run. Soft pretzels and a bag of delicious goodies) and made my way into the finish area. If the start area was crowded, the finish area was worse. Mike and I had decided to meet up at the Dunkin Donuts tent. I realized immediately this was a huge mistake, because they were giving out free drink and donut samples. It was mobbed. It took us over 30 minutes to find each other because apparently our bag check bus was late and Mike had to wait for a while to get his cell phone back. After we met up, we took a couple pictures and high tailed it to the subway. Thankfully, that was not as bad as I thought it would be. We got on a train easily and were back in Center City by noon. [As a note, many runners at Broad Street wore Red Socks as a tribute to Boston. It was a really nice touch! And for interested parties, Mike ran approx 1:10. He’s really coming back from his injury and doing great!]
In summation: Broad Street was super fun and energetic! You really get a taste of Philly and that rocks. Logistically, this race is challenging because of the huge crowds and small start / finish areas. I’m so glad we did it and maybe we will in a few years, but not next year.
After bagels and showers back at Sarah’s, we cabbed up to the Northern Liberties for a post race celebration of beer, jenga, and ping pong at Frankford Hall. I wasn’t feeling 100% (I got an exercise induced headache after the race) so I stuck to soda and agreed to be our designated driver. I didn’t mind at all, we had so much fun! By 7 pm, Mike and I were on the road back to DC. We hated to leave Philly (and Sarah) but we’ll be back again VERY soon!
Questions for you guys:
- Have you ever run Broad Street? What did you think?
- Did you race this weekend?
- Favorite beer?
So this is WAY overdue but I do owe you guys a Philly Half Marathon Recap (I’m also going to write a review too but that’s much less run I think). So OK The Philly Half Marathon… back story! I’ve alluded many times to my wildly successful LDF (long distance friendship) with my bff Sarah. She lives in Philly, I live in DC, I cried when I realized she wouldn’t be my roomie after college… but we’ve made the best of it! My parents are also originally from Philadelphia, and even though they raised my brother and I across the river in Jersey, we’ve always been Philly-lovers. Needless to say, when Mike did not get a number for the NYC Marathon (which clearly ended up being a blessing) I was quick to suggest Philly as an alternate fall marathon choice. I decided to run the half too, just for fun!
We went up to Philly on Friday night a little later than we planned. There was some horrible accident on 95 N that closed the entire highway. My parents were unfortunately sitting in traffic for over two hours, so we weren’t in any rush to get on the road. We waited until the highway opened up and arrived in Philly around 10:45 pm. After spending Friday night having fun, we spent Saturday morning hanging out, getting our bibs, and going to brunch at Amada.
Unfortunately, this is where things started getting hairy. Both Mike and I got sick after eating at Amada. Our brunch group was three couples, so each couple shared a few of their tapas style small plates. Mike and I ate two items that no one else tried and I think something was not right there. Mike got sick immediately, but I felt fine at first so I didn’t think it was related to the food. Then a couple hours later… let’s just say I was convinced. I was less worried about me (at this point running a half isn’t a huge shock to my system) but I was really concerned about Mike. He was already worried about his ankle injury (he referenced it in his guest post) and now he was sick / getting dehydrated! We bought a ton of liquids at the CVS including Gatorade, Ginger Ale, Coke, and of course saltines. Things were touch and go there for a bit!
By the time dinner came around, both of us were at least feeling somewhat back to normal. We had a fun dinner at Core de Roma on South Street with my parents, Mike’s family, Sarah, and her boyfriend. I stuck to pretty plain pasta but all the food was DELICIOUS. The company was even better though 🙂
OK FINALLY to race day (this post is already getting too long I can tell). We were staying near Rittenhouse Square, so it was an easy walk over to the Ben Franklin Parkway / race start. The country flags were the PERFECT way to meet up with people in this huge crowd. We met my parents at the Ethiopian flag around 6:30 am, and took a couple pre-race pictures. Unfortunately, my dad took a bunch of the good pics on his camera but never puts them up on Facebook (Dad put the pics up!!!) I have this one of Mike and I though 🙂
It was COLD. It was going to be a great day for a race, but the morning was a little rough. I elected to go with capri pants, calf sleeves, tank top, short sleeve tech tee, arm warmers, gloves, and a headband I could pull over my ears. The sweatshirt was just for pre-race. Then we met up with my friend from Georgetown Michelle! When we realized we both were running / aiming for approximately the same pace we decided to run together, which I loved. I NEVER have a running buddy, and normally I totally don’t mind running solo. Having a friend was such a fun change though! We said goodbye to Mike and wished him luck (he was in the first corral behind the elites so it was more important for him to be there before the gun. I’m usually far enough back that I have some wiggle room hehe).
I was really worried about Mike. I made him promise me that if his ankle was in pain he would drop out of the race. He was going for a BIG PR, and I knew he was so focused that he would try and run through the pain. We had a lot of talks before the race about how our #1 goal is to be runners for a long time, so sometimes that means making short term sacrifices. Mike is such an intelligent runner, but he is really driven. We both use each other to talk through these kinds of situations… which is awesome.
Michelle and I lined up and before we knew it the sun was up and we were crossing the starting line and heading down towards Love Park.
We fell into a pretty easy pace right out of the gate. I was so cold by the time we started, I kind of felt like my legs weren’t even attached to my body. It was also really crowded. I absolutely loved that they opened up 3,000 additional spots in the race for displaced New Yorkers, but that’s another 3000 bodies on the course so this was kind of inevitable. I didn’t mind it though… Michelle and I were having a BLAST already. We ran down a few miles and ended up on Front Street. We made a quick unsanctioned bathroom stop behind some very full bushes. There were a bunch of other ladies back there so it was cool. SORRY but the lines were SUPER long and we really had to go. This is running folks.
We made the turn and headed up onto South Street. The crowds here were awesome with a ton of music playing. We even ran past the restaurant we ate at on Saturday night! I kind of wanted to pop in for a quick spaghetti but I didn’t have time 🙂 We went up a few blocks and ended up on Chestnut Street. This is when I started looking for people. I thought Sarah might be out around 15th and Chestnut but I later found out she was still in bed (SLACKER! hehe just kiddingg). I spotted my parents at about 21st and Chestnut because my mom was waving her cow bell like crazy. I threw my hands up in the arm to get their attention and my dad snapped an AWESOME pic of us. I kind of wish I had it (HINT HINT… DAD!).
We left Center City behind and ran over the bridge towards Penn where Michelle is currently in grad school. My dad has his PhD from Penn so it was fun to try and spot landmarks I recognized. I knew that the first hills of the race were coming (up until this point it had been pancake flat). Michelle and I were holding a really steady pace, laughing / talking the whole time, and just enjoying the crowds. Some of the other runners were really friendly too. Around mile 8 we started looking out for Michelle’s boyfriend Gabe, but I don’t think we ever found him! I took a Chocolate GU… because it tastes like chocolate frosting and I love it. We passed the zoo and I knew the “big hill” was coming (biggest of this course at least). It passed pretty much without incident and before I knew it we were at the Please Touch Museum. If you haven’t been there before you should go… or take your kid. I distinctly remember my Aunt Gloria taking me there when I was little (I’m pretty sure it was a different location at that time, but my child memories don’t include a lot of directions).
Then we started my favorite miles of the while race. There were almost no crowds running through the park, but I didn’t need them. The race crowd was enough for me and I just drank in the beautiful fall scenery. It was absolutely gorgeous. Before I knew it, we were passing mile marker 10 and heading back towards the Art Museum. I knew there was going to be one little hill before heading to the finish line. It was really small, but sometimes a small hill at the end of a race that you’re not expecting can really get you. I wanted to be prepared. Finally, we passed in front of the Art Museum and I was sprinting to the finish line!
Thankfully I was immediately swaddled in a space blanket. I had taken off my gloves and rolled down my arm warmers a bit during the run, but it was still chilly. Michelle snapped a finish line pic 🙂
We met up with my parents at the Ethiopia flag again. I was really relieved when I saw Mike wasn’t with them. He told me that if he dropped out of the race, he would just make his way to the meet up point. If he wasn’t there by now, I knew he was going to finish. We had some time so we took some pics, stretch out a bit, and drank warm chicken broth (easily the best post-race food ever… salty and warm, ZOMG)
I said goodbye to Michelle. She had to go do homework… BOO. I was on the phone trying to coordinate meeting up with Mike’s parents when we decided to make our way to the marathon side to wait for Mike. I’m normally never a worrier, but I was definitely feeling some nerves for him. Only because of the injury and getting sick… and, well, I love him so deal with it. I saw one of the guys from our running club finish and knew Mike shouldn’t be too far behind him. Just as I was starting to really freak out, THERE HE WAS! We had a really awesome sweaty runner hug and he shared his big news… he beat his goal!!!!!
3:14:22 for this guy right here.
I am once again exceptionally proud of him. I had a fun race with my friend… but Mike was the one to celebrate 🙂 After he stretched I made him take 1000 pictures.
It was freezing and at one point Mike was wearing his mom’s down coat to warm up. I took like 30 pictures of him in that coat without him looking. I’m sure he’s really going to appreciate seeing them on the blog. Love you honey!
Family love fest ensued and I even bought a couple soft pretzels from a guy selling them out of shopping cart (if you’re not familiar, Philly soft pretzels are the best when sold to you out of shopping cart in a brown paper bag… seriously) They were totally price gouging everyone though… $9 for 3 pretzels!!! Normally they’re like 75 cents a pop but it was worth it.
After the race it was ice bath time! Mike was the one who really needed it, but I hopped in after for good measure. I think the hat really helped… not at all. Then we went to Schlesingers (one of my FAV Philly places). I ate 100 pickles from the pickle bar, matzoh ball soup, and some errrrrgggssss (that’s how I say eggs when I’m really hungry).
Final Summation: Great Race for both of us. Great for me because I had fun and enjoyed the run. I’m normally pretty head down and focused when I’m racing, but this time I really took in the scenery and enjoyed the experience. You can’t “race” every race after all. This race was the perfect way to focus myself for marathon training and remind myself why I love this sport so much. Great race for Mike because he accomplished a huge goal in the face of some serious adversity. His foot has been bothering him since, so he’s been resting at my insistence.
Next up… Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler!!
This has been a really interesting week. Early in the week I wasn’t feeling very well so I skipped my normal Tuesday yoga class in favor of going to bed at 9 pm (it was glorious). The week certainly picked up with some really great mid-week activities with great friends. This weekend promises to be no less amazing… opening ceremony of the Olympics tonight with friends, a concert with my brother and Mike on Saturday, and hopefully some time relaxing in bed with Fig.
Crossing Broad Street in Philadelphia… on the way to brunch!
Something in this closet doesn’t belong… I love this little hooligan.
Washington Monument Day and Night… sometimes I really don’t appreciate how amazing this city is 🙂
My Week in Workouts:
- 60 Minute Spinning Class
- 30 Minutes Hill Workout on Elliptical
- 15 Minutes Total Body Strength Training (Clean and Press, Burpees, Push Ups, Bent Over Rows, Bicep Curl / Shoulder Press, Chest Press on Stability Ball, Crunches / Oblique Twists on Stability Ball, Dead Lifts, Squat Jumps, Overhead Tricep Extensions) I was kind of all over the place with this one but it was fun.
- 20 Minutes Inclined Walking Workout on Treadmill (3.8 mph, Incline from 8.0 – 12.0)
- Rest Day
- 5 Mile Run
- 60 Minute Cardio Strength Intervals Class
- Speed Workout (10X 400 M at 5k Pace, 200 M recovery)
- 75 Minute Level 1.5 Vinyasa Yoga Class
- 60 Minute Cardio Strength Intervals Class
Exciting news!! I purchased my domain name so now it’s just Penniesontherun.com! Woohoo!! Now onto Friday Favorites…
Sweetfrog frozen yogurt on Memorial Day Weekend. I love love love frozen yogurt in case I haven’t made that ABUNDANTLY clear.
This is a picture of Mike’s nightstand. A copy of Runner’s World, a copy of Running Times (which he says has “more technical shoe reviews”), Advanced Marathoning, and Road Racing for Serious Runners. So.Hardcore.
We went up to Philadelphia on Sunday so Mike could buy a new motorcycle from this guy (yeah it happened). We stopped in the city to have lunch with Sarah, and walked by the Magic Gardens on our way to Supper on South Street.
Took Fig over to Mike’s house for a little playdate with Little Mac, and tried riding in the car out of the carrier. He was so much happier! He just cries and cries and cries in the carrier (not to mention he drew blood the last time I tried to put him in the carrier).
Mini bagels! Just enough carbs to make me feel totally satisfied by a salad lunch. This is also perhaps the most perfectly toasted bread item in history (in my humble opinion)
My Week in Workouts
- Early AM: 60 Minute Spinning Class
- Cascades 10K (Run 6.2 miles)
- Rest Day
- Run 5 Miles
- Lunch: 60 minute Cardio / Strength Intervals Class
- After work: 75 minute Level 2 Hot Power Yoga Class
- Lunch: Cardio Session (20 minutes Hill Workout on Elliptical and 20 minutes Hill Workout on Stair Master)
- After work: Track Workout (Woohoo I actually did it! We did a half mile warm up, then 500 M at 5K pace followed by 300M recovery jog. Do this 8 times. My 5K pace was between 7:44 min / mile and 8:16 min/mile – between 2:25 and 2:35 for each 500M interval.)
- Lunch: 60 minute Cardio Strength Intervals Class (I wanted to go to early AM yoga but I was really wiped out from Tuesday / Wednesday’s workouts so I gave my body a small rest)